iSushi brings the Far East flavor to Issaquah

February 17, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Need to feel like you’ve dined a world away, without leaving town? Well, iSushi fits the bill.

There is a central conveyor belt that travels in a square around the room from which all sushi flows. Bar countertops and table booths ring the outside, while chopping blocks, knives, ingredients, blowtorches and sushi chefs take the inside.

Choosing to sit at the bar gives you the best view of the ingredients and culinary skills exhibited by the chefs.

You can start your meal off with any number of appetizers, like the seaweed salad or squid salad ($2.75). Or try the assorted tempura, with shrimp and vegetables, for $6.

The salads and appetizers are easy enough to identify as they roll past. But when it came time to really find lunch, one of the restaurant’s picture menus would have been a helpful guide. We were seated without one.

If you have any sushi knowledge, identifying the main types isn’t difficult.

Otherwise, ask the sushi chefs and they can identify what you’re taking.

The restaurant serves a variety of tasty sushi options, including nigiri (two pieces of fish served over rice); gunkan (any number of fish, egg or salads wrapped in seaweed and served standing up); makimono (or sushi rolls); and sashimi.

A personal favorite is the unagi, or eel ($2 for two pieces). The eel is partially cooked in a soy sauce mixture and served over a bed of rice, wrapped with seaweed. The texture is that of a flaky, sweet, white fish and is a great way to start or end a meal.

A fan of the spicy tuna roll ($2.75), which is served wrapped with cucumber, I was surprised by the texture of iSushi’s version. The texture was as if the tuna had been puréed with the spices then rolled in. It was different, but not unsatisfying.

The spider roll ($3.75) is battered and cooked soft-shell crab, avocado, cucumber and masago. The flavors were excellent, but the soft-shell crab sat in the tempura fryer a bit too long and was tough.

By far, the best roll on the menu that day was the prawn tempura roll ($2), served with a spicy mayonnaise and a red, spicy chili sauce. It was an explosively delightful welcome for the taste buds.

They also serve desserts ($1.50 to $3.75), if you have a sweet tooth.

If you fancy sushi but your little ones aren’t quite into raw yet, the restaurant even has a children’s meal, which includes chicken katsu, a breaded chicken, gyoza, two pieces of tempura and a vegetable croquette, rice and vanilla ice cream for $6.20.

You’ll also find a large stock of sake varieties and local wines you can purchase by the glass or bottle, and beer, in addition to water, sodas and juices.

Overall, iSushi serves quality ingredients at reasonable prices, in a clean, modern environment. Not much is surprising about the flavors or tastes, but it is good food on a limited lunch hour, where you can get prompt service and eat healthy.

iSushi

1802 12th Ave. N.W., Suite F

313-7378

www.isushiwa.com

11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5-8:30 p.m. for dinner Monday-Friday, except open until 9 p.m. on Friday

11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday

noon – 8 p.m. Sunday

Prices vary depending on the type of sushi and ingredients, but all are between $2 and $6.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

Restaurant reviews are a regular feature of The Issaquah Press. Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and pay in full for their meals.

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